This all started with Homesick Texan. No wait, this all started with last year’s orangettes, to this day one of the most popular posts on this site. No wait, this all started with a lifelong (can you say that? when you’re just 31?) love of grapefruits. My favorite way to eat them is the same exact way my mom showed me, halved in a bowl with each section loosened with a arched, double-serrated grapefruit knife. First, I’d pop all of the sections into my mouth in probably under two minutes flat. But then, then came the “grapefruit soup,” I’d call it. Mom would help us scrape all of the residual grapefruit bits into the bowl, then squeeeze every last bit of juice, discard the empty shell of a peel and this, this my friends is the best grapefruit juice you’ll ever drink in your life. You must drink it straight from the bowl. I could live on it, and it alone.
Which brings us to the Homesick Texan, who mentioned in December that “everyone knows the juiciest, largest and sweetest ruby red grapefruit comes from the Rio Grande Valley” and it was funny, because I hadn’t known that at all. But given the price of the grapefruits we’d been seeing in the stores ($2 a pop), their sorry state (dented but still appallingly shiny with wax) and their flavor (average at best) I was just itching to find out. So, we ordered ourselves a little sampler from South Texas Organics and quite a few days later were presented with exactly what we were promised: the very best ruby red grapefruits, from South Texas.
But the coolest part was their sheen–there wasn’t one. Sans wax, pesticides and all the other you-don’t-want-to-know-whats they spray on most grapefruits, the peels beckoned me. I remembered how delicious those candied orange rinds were and had to go at it again. Using a Jacques Torres recipe as my guide, I boiled them four times. I candied them for two hours. I let them dry out on racks for another two. I rolled them in sugar. My apartment walls still smell dimly of grapefruit oil, and well, sadly, that might be the only good thing that came out of this experiment, save a few pretty photos.
They are inedibly bitter. I cannot swallow more than a bite. Even half of one and my face looks like one of those babies eating lemon (video removed, such a bummer!), plus or minus a few chin rolls and wrinkles. And I’m so sad about this, because, well, I had some high hopes. I had expected some level of bitterness greater than the oranges, hey, I know these are grapefruits afterall, but I hadn’t expected not to be able to get down a single one. And I love bitter things, as does Alex. But these, these didn’t work. So, if you have had any luck candying grapefruit peels, tell me your secrets, will you? I await your input with bated breath.
[Jacques Torres’ Candied Grapefruit Peel Recipe, for reference]
Other, more successful smittenkitchen.com citrus desserts:
- Lemon Bars
- Key Lime Cheesecake
- Lemon Layer Cake
- Key Lime Tarts
- Whole Lemon Tart
- Orange-Chocolate Chunk Cake
- Lemon Pound Cake
- Grapefruit Yogurt Loaf Cake
One year ago: Asparagus, Artichoke and Shiitake Risotto
179 comments on candied grapefruit peels
Darn. I had so hoped they’d be good. I LOVE grapefruit myself. My mom always said I was the only three year old she’d ever seen who LOVED grapefruit. Due to lack of time and quality grapefruits, I tend to buy it pre-sectioned in the refrigerated case, but I’m tempted to mail order some now …
At least the pictures are beautiful, right? I never thought I liked grapefruit until I tried it with Greek yogurt. Just cut those babies in half and pour on some lovely thick dairy goodness – delicious! Some may need honey, but not me. Maybe it means I’m getting bitter, but I like them straight-up, sans sugar. But they’re probably not as bitter as these pretty little peels.
I am sad to hear it’s the Torres recipe that let you down. If not him, then who has the magic trick to make these candied peels tasty??
sorry to hear it–I never would have guessed from the photos (they look pretty appetizing)
i candied lemon peels a few weeks ago and they were awful — glad i’m not alone!!!
How interesting! I’ve ‘candied’ (can I use it as a verb?:) orange peel before, but not grapefruit peels.
PS Did you manage to find curd cheese?
My father makes (delicious, non-bitter) candied grapefruit peel every Christmas, and his recipe says to remove all of the white pith from the peels with a paring knife to avoid bitterness. Otherwise the recipe is similar.
oddly, i like that not all of your recipes work.
it makes me actually believe you when you say something’s really good.
(and believe you even more when i try the recipe!)
better luck next time.
oh…i am so disappointed. i am infatuated with grapefruit and was looking forward to the end of the post where you tell us how delicious they were and how we can make them. but i guess not every recipe is a success. they look so pretty and delicious though. like they should be wrapped up and sold in a gourmet candy store.
Again, pith has crossed your path! I’ve made these before with one small exception: after the initial boiling in water, I scraped away all the bitter white stuff with a teaspoon, leaving the peel about 1/4 inch thick. It makes a a world of difference – try it again!
whew, glad I read the post before commenting because I was going to gush on and on about how much I love you for thinking to candy grapefruit peels. I’m such a grapefruit lover myself and learned just the same techniques as you from my own mother. Sigh… Still, looks like Moriah has a viable suggestion so might try the recipe anyway… Never give up hope!!!
but they are SO beautiful! I must hope, dream that they taste delicious too!
Moriah and Rachel — Thanks for the advice. I might try that next time! Though we are currently out of grapefruits, sob.
Pille — My mother-in-law is going to the Russian Store (thanks for the pointer) to see if she can find some for me, and if she has no luck, I will join her on Saturday. I can’t wait. These cookies I want to make with it look so amazing!
i tried candying orange peel one christmas to make florentines (the world’s most time-consuming cookie) and i found the directions on allrecipes.com to be quite helpful. in addition to making sure the white pith stays off (or gets scraped off) i seem to recall that they also suggested boiling the rind in a simple syrup. it took forever for them to dry, but they were definitely reminiscent of sunkist jelly candies and less like bitter sticks. i think it’s worth another shot!
Disappointment! They look so good, and I love grapefruit. Maybe you could poly them and use them as a festive holiday centerpiece.
I’ve never tried candying whole grapefruit peel like that before, but I have candied lemon rind and it came out darn tasty (and I think I only boiled twice). I’m with Moriah and Rachel on this one – the pith is your enemy. Scrape or cut it away, and you should be golden.
Us vs. Food
While I’ve not seen candied grapefruit rind per se I have seen a lot of grapefruit marmalade recipes this year, which are somewhat similar to candied peel.
I’ve successfully candied grapefruit peels — the recipe I use suggests both removing all the pith, as suggested above, as well as soaking the peels in salt water for at least a day (I do it for three days) before the boiling step. It works for lemon peels, too.
You should also try grapefruits from Pittman & Davis (pittmandavis.com). We order grapefruit from P&D for our family and friends every Christmas. It is to die for delicious! And also cheap.
mmmmmmmm…I wish it had worked out! The pictures look amazing! Funny how the original recipe says specifically not to remove the pith.
Did you really boil them 4 times? Man, that sounds like a lot of work!
These look so good! I wish they had worked for you. Oh well. Live, learn and cook again!
I wonder if candied grapefruit peel is an acquired taste. My grandfather loves them and we make them for him, but they are too bitter for me.
Another good grapefruit project for you to take on would be broiled grapefruit. Grapefruits drenched in Madeira and brown sugar under the broiler are delicious!
Sorry it didn’t work out . . . but three cheers to you for the bold experimentation! You never know if you never try, right?
While it is not candied grapefruit peel, this recipe for grapefruit pie from “Food on the Food” uses more zest than juice or fruit — if you are looking for ways not to waste that good organic peel. I haven’t tried it yet but think it looks amazing. http://www.foodonthefood.com/food_on_the_food/2008/01/winter-white.html
The candied peels look absolutely gorgeous (if not delicious) but it’s the grapefruit itself that’s making my mouth water! I love grapefruit “soup” as you call it but I make it by cutting off the peel with a knife then removing each segment of grapefruit, as you would for a salad or something, and squeezing all the remaining juice into the bowl with the grapefruit. My son has been eating whole grapefruits this way since he was 3!
Twice when I’ve made candied grapefruit peels, I kept boiling in water until I thought the bitterness was tolerable. So it turned out to be more than 4 times, and removing some of the pith does help. If you can get some tangerines (or mandarins?) that are organic and unwaxed, the peel on them would be mighty tasty if candied.
I second the Pittman and Davis grapefruits – my dad sends me a huge box of them every year for my birthday (near Thanksgiving). I generally spend the months of December, January, and February with grapefruit as my exclusive fruit choice, and I love it!
How excited was I when I saw this, I absolutely love grapfruit. Such a bummer it didn’t work but thanks for the effort and the heads up on the grapefruit website, I’ll definately give that a try!
I too have seen a lot of grapefruit marmalade recipes. I never tried to make a grapefruit marmalade, but I did try to make a pomelo marmalade, which is similar to grapefruits. I carved the white pith away, boiled 3 times, and once nearly finished, with high hopes, I tasted it. It was totally disgusting.
Heh. I’m just glad someone had the common sense to enlighten you about Rio Grande fruit. I’m from the Valley, and my grandmother owned a citrus orchard and sold most of her fruit in her own fruit stand. (Mom used to arrange the grapefruit in one corner of the bin to make a cradle for me while she worked.)
A shame those didn’t come out. I love the pictures, though. And now I think I’m going to go snag the last grapefruit that my brother brought over from his tree. ;)
ok yes, i’ll have that. please. pretty please. pretty pretty please.
I’m from Texas. Those are the grapefruits my grandmother used when she made candied fruit peel which is way faster than your method above. I’ve never done it any other way than I learned from her – remove all the pith, slice THIN (fat slices = not enough sweet to counteract the bitter). The slices in your photos are at least twice as wide as my gramma’s. Blanche once briefly in plain water. Then cook 15-20 minutes in a pot of simple syrup. Drain off most of the water (I put them on a cookie rack for a couple of minutes. Toss in a bowl of good, grainy sugar, then put in a slightly warm oven to dry. My gramma always used a mix of citrus and ALWAYS used pecans in the mix as well. For the pecans, you just dip roasted pecans in the simple syrup and toss in the sugar with the citrus peels.
I never made candied grapefruit peels but I did make some lemon and orange peels last year and I too removed all of the pith from the peel. They were deeelicious. (still a little bit bitter but not overwhelming)
I fussed around with the method I tried so don’t have any exact instructions except to say I agree with every one who said removing most of the pith is what ya need. (maybe?haha)
I actually removed the outer layer of citrus off with a vegetable peeler. A good sharp one. I had read recipes that said to scrape the pith away with a spoon which seemed backwards to me when you can just use a vegetable peeler.
The photos are pretty at least, maybe the candied grapefruit peels would be good in a recipe or something..?
well, they sure are purdy!
Did you remove the pith? It is hard to tell in the pictures, but they look pretty pith-y to me. Tangerines are really the only fruit that has a peel you can candy without a lot of pith removal.
I’ve always peeled and eaten grapefruit in sections, like an orange. On occasion, I’ll put a little sugar (a tsp would be more than enough) in a bowl and dip the section in the sugar before eating.
No wasted juice or pulp that way.
Wow, you blanched four times and it was still bitter, eek! My advice would definitely be to remove the pith. I usually slice my peel off the fruit while it’s still whole, leaving the white part still attached to the fruit. That way you can also trim and section the fruit nicely too. It’s the same process I use for making grapefruit marmalade.
Pink grapefruits are the best! I used to eat them every day for breakfast when I was a kid, and I made “grapefruit soup” too (although I poured it back into the emptied grapefruit peel, because I thought it was cool to use that as a bowl).
well they sure did make pretty pictures! I bet they’d be nice as a drink garnish- maybe in a vodka tonic or something?
Grapefruit soup! That’s exactly how we ate grapefruit when we were kids! That was Mom’s method. Later I learned from Dad to peel them and eat them in whole sections, stripped of their membrane. Messy to be sure, but I always felt I got every burst of ruby goodness that way.
Always the best photos on your site!!
My face definitely fell when you said that this didn’t work. They look so GOOD!
But, like someone else said, it is nice to see a recipe not work our… it’s reassuring, we all need to know that it’s okay to experiment.
Grapefruit is wonderful and so are candied citrus peels, but it simply wasn’t meant to be.
If you have pretty rind left over, however… It might sound crazy, but throw them in the tub when you take a bath; your legs will tingle (which, given how cold it’s been lately is a good thing) and life will smell of grapefruit.
*goes to make Irish bread*
Those grapefruits look divine! Glad to see so many grapefruit-lovers out there. I’m currently saving up some oranges to try orangettes– I wonder if I de-pithed some grapefruit peel could I cook the two at the same time? BTW, that grapefruit yogurt cake was delicious– a total winner! I urge you all to try it immediately.
I had pretty good luck with the grapefruit peels I candied a few weeks ago… the first batch was a little sketchy, but Round 2 was fabulous. My only tricks were: very thin sections (thin almost to the point of being translucent *before* being cooked) and you know how if you were making orange peels, you might change the soaking/simmering water 2 or 3 times? Yeah. Try 6 or so times for grapefruits. They were still a tiny bit bitter, but no more so than if you were eating grapefruit flesh. Mmm. Grapefruit.
I am also completely in love with grapefruit, so when I saw this recipe, I just had to give it a try myself. I read through the comments and decided to remove the pith.
The peels turned out to be absolutely delicious! They’re like little grapefruit gummy candies! Thank you very much for sharing, and I hope that you have better luck next time (I’m sure that de-pithing makes a world of difference).
I made grapefruit peels with some success this Christmas. I wish I could give you a precise recipe, especially after so many good ones from you, but I can’t. I do know this: I cut big, ugly chunks of peel off the grapefruit, made the first boil 20 min long, then scraped off the pith with a spoon and sliced them more delicately. I only boiled (but again for more than 10 minutes) and dumped once more, then washed the pot, and did the sugar syrup thing, boiling the syrup in until it was nearly gone. As for drying, I put them on parchment and dried them in a very slow oven after shaking them in a ziplock with the additional sugar. The bit of remaining syrup was delicious over whole milk yogurt. Still, the orange peel candies disappeared first.
I appreciate your effort! My brother’s girlfriend and frequent commenter here turned me on to your site a few weeks ago. it’s great! I’m glad you include failures and successes…alot of cooking and well life is about the process. great pictures too!
This is my first comment on your site, but right off I should tell you how much I enjoy reading about your bold culinary attempts, and oh- the photos! I wonder if including honey in one of those blanching passes would have made a difference… I have heard of honey being used for candying fruit, although I’ve not tried it myself. I did recently make the apple-yogurt cake from your site and the oatmeal, choc chip, and pecan cookies. Both total successes. Thank you for bringing them into my repertoire!
I just wanted to tell you that your pictures drove me to order some of these gorgeous fruit from South Tex Organics for my mom’s birthday. So she gets a present, and of course I will get to try them too – score!
And I might have to try Jenya’s suggestion for a bath…
So happy to be ale to pass along this tip = you need to remove the cooked pith prior to poaching in the sugar syrup. Follow Torres’ recipe up to cutting the peel into quarters and removing the fruit for another use. Blanch the peel as directed WITHOUT cutting into small slivers.
After the last blanching, remove the peel and let cool until you can handle it. With a small spoon, scrape away the cooked pith, leaving just a small amount on the rind iteslf.Cut the peel into the desired size slivers and proceed as directed in the recipe. You won’t be disappointed!
Your strips are definitely much larger than I use–mine are usually about 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide, no larger. I’ve only ever boiled them three times, making sure to change the water three times (I used to use three pots when I was doing it in my mom’s giant kitchen, now I just change the water) and then I would make sure that you’ve really gotten the heat high enough in the candying–my mom always set 238 degrees as her marker. Also, we use 5 cups sugar to 5 cups water–2 1/2 doesn’t sound like nearly enough for the quantity of grapefruit, which certainly would explain the bitterness.
I made these! With the recipe you linked…I boiled them an extra time (5 times) & cut all of the pith off that I possibly could & they came out well…I guess it really was just all that bitter pith.
This was my attempt to recover from absolutely miserably FAILING when making your lemon layer cake. Whew, did I mess that up. Boiled eggs in the lemon curd, bits of my pan in the icing…it was for my bf & it was our anniversary, so I figured I better make up for the awful cake by candying his absolutely favorite fruit!
Thanks so much for all the beautiful pictures to guide me!
The pictures alone were well worth the effort, I’d say. Good luck with the Bloggies!
How fun; I have been CRAVING grapefruit and candied citrus… what funny timing. I have a dented, well-waxed grapefruit sitting solely on my counter, looking back at me. And all I know is, it isn’t from Rio Grande. (Though I will still be slurping the juice straight from the bowl).
Whoa! Those are some gorgeous photos. What kind of camera do you use because your pictures are always gorgeous. This reminds me why I like cara cara navels so much!
you didnt remove the white pith…thats what made them bitter.
I haven’t tried it myself, but I know it can be done – I had a really piece of good candied grapefruit on a “proper greyhound” cocktail at the Hungry Cat in Santa Barbara last summer (highly recommend, btw!) I think the secret might be to shave all the white stuff off and do them in wider, thinner strips- that’s how theirs were. Still, the photos look like the mass of the sugar involved must have been as much as the peel by the time you were done – it’s hard to believe they’re inedible!
Actually, I had a really GOOD piece of candied grapefruit peel! Jeez. Proofread for once.
I’m so sorry you can’t have all the grapefruit you want to eat from your local grocery. Here in Texas, the Rio Stars are my favorite. I had one this morning that was a “3 napkin” fruit, because it was so very juicy. They are currently priced at 3 for a dollar. I too am disappointed that the recipe failed, because I love all things grapefruit.
on the nytimes website they had a mark bittman video for glacÃ© oranges. he boiled the oranges (flesh, skin, pith and all) for 8 hrs in sugar water before dumping out all the liquid and refilling it with more sugar water and boiling it for 8 more hours and repeating at least one more time, so all together it would be 24hrs. i tried it with just orange peels and about 16 hrs and one change of syrup, and it still had some bite but still good. i food processor them into small bits and use them in a pound cake. i think you can try re-boiling the grapefruit peels in a new batch of sugar syrup for 8hrs, that might get rid of some more bitterness.
Good luck with the awards… I loved this post.
The bitterness is on the white part of the peel so you have to remove it. When I was doing an internship at the restaurant Chez Panisse we boiled the peel in big chunks until knife tender. Once cooled we removed most of the white part with a spoon (at this point the peel is very tender), cut them in nice strips and only then we would candy the peel in sugar.
If you would like more detailed info let me know.
This post (and the Candy Girl post) was fantastic! I tried it out today with oranges, limes, and grapefruit. I blanched them all together twice, then pulled out the grapefruit and de-pithed it, and then blanched the limes and grapefruit together again, and then again de-pithed the grapefruit (the pith gets puffy after each blanching), and then blanched the grapefruit one more time for good measure. I did the rest of the steps following the Candy Girl post’s recipe, and it was EXQUISITE. Some I candied with sugar and some I dipped in dark chocolate, but they were all so, so delicious. And gorgeous, to boot. I did the limes on a lark, but was surprised by how well they turned out (they were especially fabulous in the dark chocolate). Thanks so much!
They look gorgeous! Sorry they didn’t taste as good as they look.
If you like candied peel, I personally LOVED candied tangerines and tangellos my mother and I made. Our recipe (which I would have to look up as I have no memory for receipes) doesn’t involve boiling 4 times. We just really scraped all the white pith off our tangerines and oranges with a spoon — OR in some cases just used a carrot peeler on the whole thing. This a little elbow grease saved us an hour or two compared to your recipe, I think. The peels are thinner and also candy much faster.
If you feel like re-attempting the grapefruit peels, I recommed just scraping all the white pith off and/or using a carrot peeler for very thin slivers. I can’t recall if my mom and I ever candied grapefruit, but we candied a LOT of various peels and some of them were VERY sour. I seem to recall some sour oranges were quite good too. I suspect part of the problem with the recipe above is that grapefruit pith is thicker than orange pith.
Forgot to add: if you take a carrot peeler to the whole grapefruit, you can save the grapefruit for eating later by putting it in the fridge or wrapping it in plastic.
Putting grapefruit in the tub can be a BAD idea for sensitive skin. I’ve gotten painful and long-lasting rashes from citrus fruit, to the point where I immediately wash off any citrus juice that gets on me. A Florida dermatologist said this is a very common reaction particularly for thinner skin that isn’t normally exposed (I got it on the underside of my arm)
I’m from Texas and I have to admit I didn’t know that ruby red grapefruits from Texas were the best…or, at least, I didn’t even think about the fact that other people didn’t have them. Too bad they didn’t turn out, could’ve been good dipped in chocolate. I just wanted to say I’m a huge fan of your blog…it’s one of my standby’s (i have a blog too, still in it’s beginning phases more or less, http://thedoughball.blogspot.com/)
Dear smitten lady,
I love grapefruit too, and we are partial to “desert” (really, dessert!) ruby grapefruit grown in the Coachella Valley, where we live and farm… dates and citrus! including grapefruit. I made up a big batch of candied grapefruit over the weekend and I haven’t been able to stop eating it… kind of a problem with all that sugar! The recipe I recommend, which I had good success with, is from Alice Waters’s new book The Art of Simple Food. Then once they’re made you can dip half of each piece in bittersweet chocolate or chop them up and put them in her excellent biscotti recipe. ;) Haven’t read through the rest of your site yet but if you’re ever curious, don’t hesitate about her recipe. It works. Sounds much simpler than J. Torres’s. And, if you ever want to try our grapefruit, please let me know! Our grapefruit is awfully sweet…. haven’t tried those Rio ones yet though. xox
It really is too bad the taste did not complement the beautiful pictures. I do think you should give this recipe one more try, but completely remove the pith. I’ve also candied mandarin orange peels. I had to scrape the pith completely before candying. Otherwise it turns out bitter also.
The thing is, to have success as a cook, you have to be willing to do three things: taste as you go; trust your gut if something doesn’t taste right; and finally, be wiling to stop when it doesn’t taste right, think about why that might be, and then try to move away from what the recipe is saying to figure out what you might need to change to get the result you want. For some folks, this is the hardest thing in the world, and for others, the most natural. But the more you do, the easier it becomes…
I’m just a bit sad for the smitten kitchen because this bitter pith citrus disaster follows so closely on the clementine clafouti affair–which was also about the perils of pith. If only you had tasted the peel before the final sugaring, you might have remembered the pithy tips folks gave you over there! Best of luck with the next citrus affair!
Hey everyone–After 23 comments about removing the pith, rest assured, we know exactly what to do next time.
‘Tis a shame that the Jacques Torres recipe we followed didn’t mention this–because we’ve been to his shop and we know he knows how to do it correctly, that is, pith-free–but it’s great to see that everyone is so enthusiastic on the topic.
If anyone has any peel-candying suggestions that haven’t yet been mentioned, we are still all ears.
Is there any reason that the zest part of the rind couldn’t be removed right at the start with a veggie peeler? Thereby leaving all the pith on the grapefruit and starting with only the pith-free rind?
I use a lot of citrus zest in homemade booze and this is how I acquire my zest. I imagine that the pith would be very bitter in the booze.
Just to throw the cat amongst the pigeons after everything seems to have been resolved….
For Xmas presents I used the recipe at Cooking Debauchery ( http://tinyurl.com/2cwc98 ) which said to leave the pith and also to boil the peel five times (I hink I actually did 6 times) and it turned out lovely.
It is important to let the peel boil for only 30 seconds before draining and rinsing – this means rinsing the peel AND the pan – for the bitter oils cling to the sides of the pan and the draining peel otherwise. Cover with cold water and repeat as necessary. The thick pith kept the finished peel succulent, and it was not at all bitter.
When I tried with thin-pith’d fruit, after the candying stage, they dried out to be very brittle. :(
I made/tried this last night. I boiled the peel in quarter sections (without scraping the white/pith off) four times, changing the water with each boil round. I let the peels cool then carefully scraped the pith off with a paring knife. I looked at the pile of sludge and thought…hmm: jam. Uh, after tasting…definite NO…all that bitterness is INDEED in the pith. I cut the quarters into thin strips. For the the last boil/simmer with sugar, I added a couple pomegranate tea bags because, as the process was going along, I thought I wanted them to be more a lovely pink and this actually worked (!). But then I remembered about the tannins in tea and I think I may have tanned my peels (kidding – maybe). They turned out DEElicious but are quite…ahem…limp.
Grapefruit gloves anyone?
I rolled a couple dozen in fruit sugar and then dipped in 70% dark chocolate (on half the strip).
So what I have is happy delicious little sticks of pink grapefruit peel with a chocolate handle and the top half swinging in the wind.
The undipped remainder *really zingy nice* will be eaten straight or added to other dishes.
I have candied grapefruit rind, and mine were bitter as well, but there is a happy ending! I couldn’t bear to throw the candied peels away. I kept trying them hoping that all my work hadn’t gone to waste, and sure enough, a month or so later, they stopped being bitter. I don’t know exactly why. I stored them in the refrigerator between layers of waxed paper and they kept fine. After they’d “aged,” the peels were just as delicious as I had hoped they would be. Mine weren’t as cringingly bitter as yours seem to be, however. I used a recipe that involved boiling the peels in several changes of water. I just got a windfall of homegrown grapefruit and was hoping to candy the peels again. I’m going to try boiling it more thoroughly this time.
I’ve made candied grapefruit rind for years, for Christmas presents for my father. I used his mother’s recipe (she died long before I was born), and never really had inedibly bitter peel – tangy, yes, but bitter, no. But it is an acquired taste. It’s not as sweet (despite the tons of sugar) as other candied rinds.
I don’t remove any of the pith, but the trick she used that I’ve never seen elsewhere was to gently twist the peel after cutting into strips to release the oil in the skin. Then you boil it in several changes of water until it doesn’t have the strong grapefruit peel smell; I usually do at least 4.
once I tried to candy orange peel by just chucking it into what ever was handy, which was sugar that the ants had got to and I was cleaning up by putting into a honey jar with a bit of honey left in it
it was a kitchen science experiment: if I put this orange peel in to the jar will it candy?
It did and was yum
Thanks for sharing your experience. I tried his recipe for orange pills and we liked the result. For other citruses with more bitterness i suggest pouring some cold water on them and let them remain in it for about a day or so, maybe changing the water a few times, after boiling then for 2 or 3 times. You can check them from time to time and start the boiling in syrup part when ever you find the bitterness to be ok.
It’s a known method here. Good luck!
This looks fantastic. Oh – and I made these for a party — TRY THEM: Chocolate Covered Grapes (recipe from epicurious) Brilliant and easy.
Grapefruit strips – they look absolutely scrumptious. You’re pics are so colorful, almost real, well done!
I just came across your website in Real Simple magazine– congrats on the mention. I’m trying to make cooking a bigger part of my life & I’ve already been inspired by a mere glimpse of your work!
As for this recipe, Mark Bittman posted a video segment on orange confit on the NYTimes website. There is also a text-only version on the recipe online. I’m pretty sure it involves hours of simmering orange slices (peel and all) in sugar water, but it supposedly turns into a sugary treat– sans-bitterness! Might work for your grapefruits! I suspect that if you follow the recipe perfectly, you might lose some of the zing we both know and love about grapefruits, so you’d probably have to experiment to keep just the right amount of tart!
If nothing else, you’ll have more wonderful pictures!
Here’s that link for Orange Confit!
i remember reading in a book that to make the best candied pomelo peels, one had to use pomelos that were on the verge of ripening. such a waste. since the pomelo and the grapefruit are very close cousins, maybe that’s a trick?
Ah! They look beautiful anyway. They could prettify any dessert! I guess they were made to have supporting roles.
A quick look at the recipe you followed reveals the likely problem:
“Remove the fruit from the peel, leaving the white membrane or pith attached to the peel. ”
The bitterness is in the white pith and should be removed from the skin. I’m going to make this tomorrow, making that alteration. I’ll let you know how it comes out.
The shape of the peels will likely need to be different without the pith than is shown in your lovely photos. The end result will be a thinner candied peel.
Definitely scrape some to most of the white off after you boil them the first time. I haven’t made these since, but understand that that step would have saved them. I’ll refresh them soon! Good luck.
I just made them. I only changed the water twice before the final boil with water. But I don’t it’s necessary to change the water more than once. The texture was a little too soft after so much boiling and not necessary with the pith removed. Oh! I reduced the sugar to two cups. Without the pith, more seemed unnecessary.
But for this slightly over-done texture, they’re delicious!
Other than reducing the boiling time, the next issue would be to correct the shape. Without the pith to provide structure, you’re not going to get the lovely look you have pictured above. The peels are going to be thin, translucent, more wafer-like. In fact, what they most resemble are petals, so next try will be to make slices that can be trimmed to appear more petal-like.
Once dipped in the chocolate, I think they’re going to be quite nice.
Ooh! The shape! What worked best was to cut the strips of peel into diamonds then trim the sides just a bit to make them uniform. Great look, especially dipped in chocolate and they’re lovely as decorations for cakes, cupcakes, and petit fours, too.
you also want to boil them about 5 times , with draining the water about ever 10 min’s, i didn’t have to get rid of my white part on them and they ended up tasting fine. I also did 5 cup of sugar to my 2 cups of water. that might have help to. try them again they are worth the time !
I’ve used the candied grapefruit method from The Glass Pantry by Georgeanne Brennan for several years. She doesn’t suggest removing the pith or boiling the peels multiple times. They’re boiled once in water, then cooked again in syrup. They then sit for 6-7 hours at room temperature and are returned to low heat until they absorb all the syrup, about 30 minutes. I was going to try Use Real Butter’s method for candied orange peels to do grapefruit this year, but after reading about your troubles, I’m going to stick with the lengthy, but reliable method. Mine are in the “sitting room temp syrup” stage and I cannot wait ’til they’re done!
I am from a jewish middle eastern family and the way we candy grapefruit peels makes them one of the most labourious recipes i have ever heard of! Because of this they are highly prized as gifts:
You first get all your (relatively largely sliced) grapefruit peels and boil them up, then leave them to soak in cold water for at least a day. Every hour or so, or at least ten times within the day, you need to change the soaking water. With every change of soaking water you need to completely ring out the peels. Once you have finished this stage of the process you need to get a rolling pin and roll it out over the grapefruit peels – this causes them to curl up on themselves and make pretty spirals. You then boil them in dessert syrup – or in arabic ‘Shira’ – which has rose water in it.
This is the correct way to candy grapefruit peels, with no bitterness!
I JUST made some and I’ve fallen in love with myself. IT’S THAT GOOD. Oh, dont’ take the pith off! You have to boil them at least 3 or 4 times for 5 minutes, and drain the water each time and start over because the water will retain bitterness. You boile them until they are translucent and let them cool in the refrigerator overnight.
Then, for every cup of water you use to you use .5 cup of sugar. I needed 8 cups to cover my rinds last night and I used 4 cups of sugar. Bring to a boil and then SIMMER slowly for 3 hours until you see the rinds basically sitting in a syrup. Let them cool in the friig over night. Then, roll each in some granulated sugar and put them on a rack to dry over night. DELICIOUS.
I was just going to leave a comment similar to the one above me, let by Zanna.. I had to make some candied lemon slices for a cake, so obviously I couldn’t remove the pith. I put the slices in a pot, covered with water, brought to a boil, drained, and repeated five times. Afterward, I simmered them in equal parts sugar and water for about 40 minutes, cooled them on a rack, then tossed in sugar and let dry overnight. There was the tiniest trace of bitterness left, but not enough to matter.
Man, never realized it, but it is awesome living in South Texas. The grapefruits are amazing and the Fredricksburg peaches? Superb.
I made these last night according to larochelle’s recipe, more or less (my citrus peels were already sliced&a bit dry when I set out to make them, so I had to keep them in plain hot water for longer to soften up&remove the pith). The lemon & orange peels are great, the grapefruit… are good. Maybe my slices were still too thick, or my grapefruits were the more pesticide-y kind. Anyway, they’re quite good up to the moment when you swallow, and then they leave this bitter feeling at the back of your throat.
Good God, I’ll shut up now. So much cooking TMI! But maybe it will help somebody, somewhere :P
I just discovered your website and I’m in the process of catching up…as for the simple syrup used in this recipe, don’t throw it out, use it in teas and other sweets. Well, at least with to simple syrup used for orange peels. I’ve tried making the candied grapefruit peels but have had little success. It just comes out way too bitter; I’m planning on using the tips offered by others on your site for a better tasting candy. Love this site!
I have made this several times. Your best bet is to boil the grapefruit several times, at least once with salt. Then, when the pith is no longer white but pinkish, it will be EASY to remove with a spoon. You don’t have to be crazy obsessive and get it all, it won’t be too bitter. I have considered leaving it on and just boiling it all with sugar, but I lost my nerve. The peels swell up in the water, and so does the pith. I cooked it with a couple of teaspoons of tapioca flour to make it more gummy. I’m going to try rice flour that way too (not cornstarch though. That just seems wrong . . . )
To make it prettier, buy one white grapefruit, you’ll get a nice combination of colors.
Here is another recipe that avoids bitter pith syndrome http://chompit.wordpress.com/2010/01/25/save-those-peels/
Don’t give up on candied rinds! Try buddha hand fruit (citron). It’s wonderful!
Hi, first I just want to say that i just entered your site for the first time and it’s really cool :)!
I’m trying to make candied pomelo (I think that’s how it’s called in english) peels… I heared it’s really yummy and decided that I have to try it. I was also told that I need to remove the pith first. also, there are some recipies that say you should leave it inside a bowl with water for 3 days and exchange the water every few hours, then after doing that you need to boil it in water once and wash it again…maybe that’s the deal with grapefruits as well?…
Good luck :)!
I’m very new to your blog and very late to this thread, but as an avid citrus-candier, had to throw in my 2 cents. I have made these many times (used to work as a pastry chef), and I’ve never removed the pith. To the contrary, I’ve found that the thicker I slice them, even including a small bit of the flesh, the more delicious and juicy the finished peels are. The secret, as Chris notes above, is to cook them quite a long time at a low temp in the syrup, then let them sit overnight. Sometimes i refresh the syrup when i see it getting low. Basically, it’s a two day process. But the finished product renders plump, juicy, tart peels, no bitterness at all. Happy candying!
I’ve used a slightly different technique that hasn’t let me down yet. I cover the peels with cold water and boil. I rinse ’em in cold water, cover in cold water and boil again. Drain and repeat a third time and then cut into thin strips. Then I pop ’em back in the pot and add 1 1/2 cups of sugar for each grapefruit. I DONT add any water, but turn the heat to medium high and stir until the sugar liquifies. There’s always been enough water in the boiled peels that I don’t need to add any more. Once the sugar liquifies and bubbles I stir constantly for 20 minutes. Then I roll ’em in sugar and dry them on foil. Just did it again this morning and they taste great.
sorry it was bitter.
when i made them years ago from grapefruits given to us from a neighbor, they were delicious and not bitter.
just like some grapefruits are deliciously sweet and some are not edible, i think you have to have the right kind of fruit for it to be candied sweet…
it can be that you boiled it too many times… i used ones without pesticides and didn’t do all that work, unfortunately don’t have the recipe but when i followed the proportion it worked out fine. 2nd time i tried, i wasn’t so meticulous with the measures and it became gooey and not quite candy-like.
thanks for wonderful pictures & posting… i shall try again next week or so. :)
Hi! I just stumbled upon your blog through other blogs and I LOVE your blog, its really amazing. I’ve literally been going backwards in your archived posts just to see each and every one of them!
I do want to mention that I’ve candied both lemon and orange peels, and as others have mentioned, its key to remove the pith as much as you can (simply sawing it off the peels once you’ve sliced the peels off of the fruit is easy enough), as the bitterness comes from that part. Also, without the pith, you can boil it just once, then simmer in simple syrup (water+sugar) for about half an hour, then let it sit in the syrup at least 6 hours (I usually just do it overnight because its easier). Then you can drain them, dry them, and be done the next day! Delicious. I sometimes dip one half of the peels in melted chocolate for extra decadence when I’m feeling indulgent. :) It is a long process but well worth it in the end. Hope that helps!
Oh my goodness, your website saved me!
I’ve been craving these candied grapefruit peels for the longest time and I just found your blog. Thank you so much.
I have to chime in and agree that you really do get a sweeter, less bitter, product when you remove the pith. If you don’t mind a really thin candied peel, a great idea is to take a high quality vegetable and fruit peeler (potato skin peeler, etc) and simply peel the grapefruit before you cut it.
After you’ve cut the skins is definitely doable but it’s not as quick of work as it will be if you do it beforehand.
Well, I’m off to peel some grapefruits…
BTW, anybody, do you know why they’re called ‘grapefruits’ anyway… they don’t look or taste anything like grapes…
the key is several blanchings in clean water each time i think like 3 or 4 worked when i did this recipe
I recently made candied grapefruit and lemon peel, and i completely removed ALL the pith from both. The grapefruit i was told to boil twice and scrape the pith after each time. I had beautiful thin skins, and the whole recipe turned out great, except that i don’t like them! they have a strange after taste, rather unpleasant… i guess i will have to try professional ones to see where i went wrong.
Could this be a result of simply low grade fruits? my recipe called for ‘preferably’ organic fruits, which i couldn’t find, so i just used regular grocery store fruits.
Emily is correct. My technique is to boil two times with salt water, about 1/4 cup per boil then one or two more boils without, THEN pull the pith, cut into strips (yours are absolutely perfect, by the way!
During the candy-ing process, I’ve added food coloring, and sprinkle with colored cake decorators sugar, or you can color your own sugar. I saw it on TV!
I’m making some now, in fact.
‘Failures’ are good. We learn more from them. I’ve been candying like a maniac all week! Last batch was grapefruit (my least favourite citrus fruit) I was surprised that they turned out best of all! Glowing colour, melting and sweeet! I actually left on most of the pith, just a little cut away for looks.
The blanching process is really, really important. There are umpteen varieties of each fruit which will behave differently so, before starting the last stages, taste a little to find out how much ‘personality’ is left! I’ve seen recipies that suggest blanching from 1 minute to 15 mins x 3+. Make sure to discard the water each time. Go easy – if it still tastes ‘peely’, boil it a bit more and taste again.
I had to try it… just so tempting!
It tasted great, next time I will candy something a bit more versatile like oranges and meyer lemons
There’s a good recipe in the Fearrington House cookbook.
I made candied grapefruit slices over the weekend. I didn’t blanch them at all, but just boiled them down for about an hour, hour and a half in half a cup of sugar and a cup and a half of water. Simmer simmer simmer. Then I set them on a rack for two hours, then tossed them in a bag of fine baker’s sugar. They were quite tasty! A bit bitter, and not something I’d want to eat a lot of.
So you know what I did?
Are you ready for this?
I chopped them up fine and simmered them (with some sugar) in cream, with the end of a vanilla bean that I had soaked in bourbon. I simmered this for about 30 minutes, strained out the grapefruit, and carefully whisked in a tempered egg yolk. Then I tossed the whole thing (strained out grapefruit included, minus the vanilla pod) into the blender and processed it until it was a soft frothy pink, but still with some candied grapefruit bits. I whisked in some whole milk and put it in the refrigerator. Tonight it goes in the ice cream maker.
I am with the others – you have to remove the pith as best you can. I candied whole grapefruit slices without a recipe or any experience because it sounded like fun and they came out… well they were good but I boiled them in sugar syrup for for about 4 hours total.
My mom candies the fruit of several citrus fruits, including bitter orange-which is rrrrrreally bitter!
Before she removes the peel, she actually grates the zest off (with the fine side of the grater) and then proceeds to the water baths. She does not remove the pith, and she uses a 1:1 ratio of sugar to fruit by weight, and keeps it at a medium boil until the syrup becomes quite thick. The peel is cooled in the syrup overnight, removed the next day and rolled in granulated sugar (after removing excess syrup). There is no bitterness at all.
My Cuban grandmother used to make candied grapefruit peel, except that she would not dry them out. She made a heavy syrup and stored them in the syrup in the refrigerator. They were absolutely delicious. I remember eating them as a child.
She would remove the outer colored part of the grapefruit peel, quarter them removing the juicy sections, and she would using only the white bitter pith. One thing I remember her saying is that you have to boil them until there is no bitterness left. She would soak the pith in the refrigerator for 24 hours, changing out the water every 6 hours or so to help remove the bitterness. The next day she would boil them, changing out the water several times. Her secret was that she tasted the water after every boiling cycle. If it was bitter she would change out the water and boil again. If the water is still bitter, your finished product will be bitter. It may take more than the four boiling cycles you are using. I think that you might want to try my grandmother’s technique and achieve better results with your end-product. Of course you don’t have to peel them like my grandmother did, you could just try using her boiling technique.
I hope you try it and post the results of that trial here. I look forward to hearing about it!
Hey there! I see this has been answered a lot, but offering slightly different suggestion. The way I use it you may not be snacking on it due to its size but makes a nice topper for cupcakes or other deserts. I simply peel strips off the rind sometimes with a zester, cover the pieces in agave nectar and dehydrate. They are sweet and delicious! Hope this wasn’t beating a dead horse :}
Every year I process 20 or so grapefruit when I can purchase them in the 20-25 cent a piece range. My goal is candied grapefruit rind and I don’t wasteg the fruit.. I want to share my improved technique that my NANA did every year when grapefruits were plentiful. Remove the zest before eating or cutting into the fruit. I use a PedEgg Proffesional Microplane (Callous Remover) and shave the rind and shine off the skin. Next I score the peel orbitally twice with a tupperware tool that is similar to crochet needle. I fletch the pieces of peel off with my fingers and am left with a pith covered grapefruit to use as I wish. Boil and rinse the peels a couple of times and then boil with sugar to a very thick consistency. Roll in sugar and let dry. When I was a kid, I never understood why other peoples candied grapefruit was so bitter. Nana’s rinds were hoarded.
Hey! I am huge fan, and I read constantly. I also am a line cook and pastry cook professionally. Recently I made pomello strawberry marmalade. I realized, like yourself, that since pomellos are much more bitter then oranges or lemons, I decided to take a few extra steps to help dilute it a little. Really all it took was a few more boiling sessions. I tend to bring lemons or oranges to a boil and drain at least 4 times, with the pomellos I ended up doing it 7 times. Also, the last two sessions I added a 1/4 cup of sugar to the water. As the water evaporated the rinds absorbed a little of that sugar. They remained bitter to say the least, but definitely palatable, and tasted delicious in the marmalade. Maybe try that? Everything is trial and error! I hope you can figure it out, I don’t have any grapefruits, but plenty of pommellos left over so maybe I will try and candy the peels and let you know how it goes!
the bitter is from the pith (and for grapefruit its REALLY bitter!) — you have to scrape the pith off before poaching in the sugar syrup. The easiest way to do this is take the peel off in large sections — ideally quarters, and boil those a couple of times. Then scrape off the pith (should be soft enough to do with a spoon), cut into slices and poach in syrup
Janice (comment 118) has it right. I’ve made these with a recipe from a special holiday Martha Stewart magazine from a few years ago (not one of the regular monthly ones–it might be called Handmade or Holiday or something) and she has you do that, too. I tried to skip it this year, and it’s not going so well. I think you need the longer, multiple boils and scrapes before you put them in the sugar syrup and then sugar them. When I made them with that recipe, they were great, and even my non-grapefruit-loving husband liked them. Hope you try again!
Try a vegetable peeler to get nice strips with NO pitch attached. Works great. I also dip the tips of some of my strips into melted chocolate to add some variety to the plate.
RE: candied grapefruit peel. I too am a huge fan of grapefruits, and of candied citrus peel in general, well ok, ANY candied fruit, as long as it was candied in someone’s kitchen and not mass-produced and preservativated (?) to death.
Anyways, I’ve experimented with the grapefruit peel to reduce the natural bitterness. What I’ve found to work, is the remove some (not all) of the white pith before boiling them (3-4 times bringing cold water to a simmer and simmering for at least 20 minutes before rinsing to do them again.)
Then for the candying….simple syrup (1/2 and 1/2 sugar/water). Then I do the simmering in the syrup for 30-40 minutes, remove it from the heat, put a tight fitting lid on it, and let it rest at room temp for 24 hrs. Slowly bring rind and syrup to a simmer again, and once more simmer for 30-40 minutes. This second simmer and the soak in the syrup combined with removing some of the pith really reduces the amount of bitterness in the finished product.
You’ll have to let me know how it works out for you. :)
The way I learned to do this is to remove the pith, then boil seven times, changing the water each time. Crucial thing is to get a good fast boil, not so much how long they boil each time; I usually dump the water as soon as they’re about to boil over, then start again. The seventh time, add sugar equal to the amount of water you’re using, then once they’re about to boil over, reduce heat to a moderate boil and keep going until the syrup reduces to where it just covers the peels. (You can save this syrup and put it over vanilla ice cream–it will be somewhat bitter, but the ice cream balances it nicely.) Let the peels dry until they’re just a little gooey, roll in sugar, and let them keep drying until they’re the texture you want. They won’t be the sweetest things, but if you love grapefruit, they’re addictive.
Made some today, in fact! Might try oven-drying–after reading this, they’re really calling out to me… :)
PS–have tried the same method with orange, lemon, tangerine, and lime peels. Orange and, surprisingly, lemon worked okay but not tangerine or lime. I think it has to do with how “spongy” the peel is, even after pith removal.
I’m actually in the “peel boiling” stage of this process as I type this. Just came to double check a recipe and came across this site! So glad I did. I will scrape the pith off before I boil again. Wish me luck! Lol.
I’m only four years late, but I just tested Pierre Herme’s recipe from his Macaron book and he doesn’t say to remove the pith. Just make sure you soak them in the sugar syrup in the fridge overnight. I boiled four times and then cooked them in syrup (they were still awfully bitter at this stage) but then overnight in the fridge and they’re edible.
I had amazing results with this recipe, not bitter in the slightest. Several changes I made was peeling all of the white from the grapefruit skins before cutting, and cutting them into thin strips. Having thin pieces makes them easier to incorporate into future baking projects, like garnish for cupcakes or chopped up and thrown into granola. I also swapped the water with highly concentrated herbal rose tea, to give the grapefruit an undeniable floral overtone. Also, using small, thiner pieces reduced the cooking time in half.
The trick I found is that the very bitter part is actual the very outer skin of the fruit. I made these and before I coated them with sugar and dried them I basically filleted them like a fish to remove the outermost skin. NO BITTERNESS!
If you ever go to Galveston and visit La Kings Confectionery they sell candied orange peels however, they counteract the bitterness by coating them in chocolate. I’m not sure if that would work for grapefruit but I think a milk chocolate would give it that sweetness that you might have been expecting and the grapefruits natural bitterness would help make the chocolate not too overpoweringly sweet. I might just have to try it myself.
My father taught me how to candy grapefruit peel and other citrus peels as well. The pith should be even and free from any veins. The trick is all in the number of times you just cover peels in cold water in a big pot, bring to a boil, dump into strainer, and repeat. After the 4th boil, cut off a small piece of peel and taste. If it is too strong, keep up the process of boiling away the bitterness. The last time, boil gently for a few minutes to ensure fruit is translucent, drain and place in measuring cup semi-firmly packed. Dump the measured peel into pot again and add sugar to equal measured peel. Add 1/2 cup water and at lowest temperature on your stove, stir sugar until melted and then let the peel simmer 2 to 2.5 hours until sugar reaches soft ball stage or 238 degrees F. (The next time you make it you probably will be able to tell by looking that it has reached the soft ball stage.) Dump this into the strainer and roll each piece in granulated sugar and dry on cookie sheet or waxed paper. To make it extra super melt either dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate and dip about one half of each piece into chocolate and let dry. When dry, place in containers and separate layers with waxed paper. Store in tightly sealed contained in refrigerator. This is from the Meta Givens’ Cookbook that my father used as his recipe starts and then he embellished each start and I have some of his best. His not best have been discarded.
PS: I usually cut peel into triangles with the width about 1/2 inch and about 1-3 inches long. This makes it easier to pack more into each layer when you reverse the pointed end of every other one.
I make grapefruit rind every Christmas, as did my mother and grandmother. We use the old Joy of Cooking recipe. After the soaking in salt water overnight and several boils in fresh water, I drain well. Then I put cup for cup sugar in a pot with no extra water at all. Let it sit for a while and then heat very slowly until a syrup forms. Cook slowly until the syrup thickens and then almost magically you hit the super-saturation point and the sugar crystalizes on the rind. Take the rind out and lay out on a foil-covered tray. The excess sugar in the pan can be saved for baking. I have also dipped these in melted chocolate.
deb – i just tried these for the first time with oranges and grapefruit.
my first batch was a flop, i walked away at the very end of the simple syrup stage and they burned. I tried it again and they came out lovely dipped in chocolate. there is also a cookie recipe that uses them in a shortbread and then dipped in chocolate.
I just candied some peel and used them in shortbread cookies. I loved them! Mine were not bitter. I don’t know what I did. Maybe it was the variety? I blanched 3 times then simmered in sugar syrup for about 30-40 minutes then dried.
Few years late with this suggestion, but I think if you soak the peels overnight; boil 10 minutes or so in fresh water; let sit overnight again and THEN boil in fresh water you won’t have too much bitter. This is what I do if I’m making marmalade to give away. But, if I’m making grapefruit marmalade just for me, I want all that bitterness so that it’s just like my Sicilian nonna made.
Oh wow it’s been half a decade since you made this and it seems there’s more than enough advise here haha I tried it based on your recipe but figured out how to get it just right – 1) thin slices 2)boil the rinds 4 times from cold. Can’t stop eating them :D
Thanks for the great post!
I know NOWT about candied fruit… but I bet you could boil that little lot into fantastic red grapefruit marmalade… ;O). Not half so pretty, but delish on toasted sourdough.
I’ve made candied grapefruit peels before. I had to boil the peels 6 times to get rid of the bitterness. After, I cooked them in sugar and finished them off by dipping them in dark chocolate. They were deliciously sweet!
I also used Jacques Torres’ basic recipe and they came out beautiful. They were sweet with a slight bitterness which is the nature of grapefruit. Maybe you didn’t use enough sugar. At the end, after sugaring them, I put them in an airtight container. They absorbed all the sugar. They tasted a bit more bitter than I wanted so I sugared them again. I think they’re perfect.
I think when my family did this this past summer, we had to use over a bag of sugar. We would add some, then take off the extra, and repeat many times. The orange peel s came out really good, but the grapefruits were a little more sour. It may have something to do with the acidity.
When I was pregnant all I wanted to eat was grapefruit. Man does this look good.
They look so good! Oddly, I forged ahead, though I was afraid I’d have the same experience as you, and made candied grapefruit – boiled 3 times – and they are delicious! I have no idea why that might be. I didn’t remove extra pith or anything. Perhaps different kinds of grapefruit? I did thinner slices.
To remove bitterness for candied peels you have to blanch at least 4 times for orange and tangerine peels and more for lemon and grapefruit: bring a large pot of water to a boil. drop in the peels and boil for one minutes, dump contents into a sieve, scoop out the peels and refresh in ice water. repeat until peels lose their bitterness then begin your candying process. don’t worry if they are limp as the sugar will toughen them. I prefer a long procees where you start with a sugar syrup that is 1000 grams of sugar to 600 grams of water. Bring the sugar syrup to a boil and pour over the peels. let sit for 24 hours. the next day drain the fruit, reserving the syrup. add another 100 grams of sugar to the reserved syrup and bring to a simmer. pour over the peels. Repeat this for two more days and then add about 20 grams of corn syrup or glucose syrup to keep the sugar from crystalizing. Let the peels macerate in this syrup about four days. I’ve also succesfully candied sour cherries with this method.
The smell of grapefruit peel cooking is a sure sign of Christmas for me. My grandmother used to make crystallized grapefruit peel and I have always used her recipe: Slice peel into pieces (I never take off any of the pith), put in a pot, cover with cold water, bring to a boil. Dump peels into a colander, rinse pot, put peels back in pot, cover with cold water and then bring to a boil. Repeat five times in all. After last boil put peel back in pot and add 1 cup sugar for each grapefruit. Add no water, stir and cook until peel takes up most of the syrup. Roll peel in sugar and then let them take up as much sugar as possible before wrapping in wax paper. I have noticed that the taste of the peel mellows as it “ages” but I like it fresh with the tang that hits the tongue.
My daughter said, just yesterday, that she thought one had to grow up eating crystallized grapefruit peel to really enjoy it. I added it to a box of Christmas goodies for my children’s teachers one year, though, and one of the teachers started making it every year, she liked it so much.
I used this recipe last night and it turned out just as I remembered. My neighbor always made this in the winter
Not sure if you’ve tried making these again in the six years since this post… but Bon Appetit had a recipe for them in their January issue (recipe online here: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/candied-grapefruit-peel), and it was so quick, easy, and pretty darn good if I say so myself! (Seriously, so quick I made them between breakfast and the gym, before even having to leave for work!) From one grapefruit lover to another: I’d highly recommend giving it another try! :)
I don’t know if you’re considering these again, but Joy of Cooking has a great recipe for candied citrus peels that works great for grapefruit. I just ate a piece a few minutes ago! They actually have the peels sit overnight in the cooked syrup. I hope you do try them again because they are so good!
I made these yesterday and they are quite yummy. Definitely predominantly sweet flavor with only a hint of tangy citrus bitterness. I used 4 Florida grapefruits, and a 12 oz bottle of Raw Cane Sugar Syrup mixed with 12 oz water for the final step. I followed the recipe posted at BonAppetite.com exactly as written (3 blanching boils in water, then a final boil in sugar syrup and let simmer on med-low till the rinds turn translucent). For me the final step took about 45 minutes, and the rinds didn’t really turn translucent till the final 5 minutes in the pan as the syrup had boiled down and was getting pretty thick. After cooling, I found coating the slices in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar is amazing! Very tasty, will definitely do this again!
The secret to having if your group is to put the PO in cold water bring you to the boil and boil it for 10 minutes drain it and do that three times and all before you boil it in the Syrup. It is also important once it’s been boiled in the syrup to let it dry overnight before rolling in the sugar and then let that dry again overnight before packing. I make these peels for the holiday season each year and there’s a great deal of competition for Peel gifts.
Sorry Siri really screwed up my first post. The secret to peels that are not bitter is to bring them to the boil in cold water and boil them for five or 10 minutes three times before boiling and sugar water. It is very important also to dry the grapefruit both after boiling in the sugar water and after rolling in sugar. I make this for the holiday season and that had repeat request. I have never found it bitter
Hi,After a failed attempt like yours, I peel mine with a vegetable peeler so I get quite a thin layer of peel and blanch at least 4 times. It’s been fine since :)
I do not include the white on the peel but sometimes a little of the white goes in. I boil twice to remove bitterness. Not bitter at all. Well for me.
Boiling 5 times, aren’t you going to trash all the nutrition of the peels?
steve — Does anyone eat candied grapefruit peels for the nutrition?
These look so great! I wish they had worked for you. Goodness well. Live, learn and cook once more!Thanks for sharing.
Hi dear. I guess the problem is the white part of the peel. You must remove it. you ned to peel very superficial, only the orange part. And you’ll have a sweet candy.
The link at [Jacques Torres’ Candied Grapefruit Peel Recipe, for reference] doesn’t work, sadly. Would you re-check it, please?
I’ve always hated having to throw out citrus peel – except that it helps to acidify the compost heap – and would be interested in finding more ways to use it than making marmalade, which isn’t sufficiently a favourite to bother.
I put a variety of candied citrus peels in pan forte, a dense, sticky Italian fruit and nut cake. I like to make it every Christmas and give them away. They may double as door stops, like most fruit cakes. The grapefruit peel, even if bitter, would still impart a citrus complexity to the cake.
I made these once and they were really good! I mean, think it was this recipe… anyway, why isn’t it here? I can’t find it and I’m really confused because they were totally edible… or maybe I just really like bitter things.
I saw David Leibovitz make it on his Instagram story last week. Maybe ask him for a recipe :)
Agree with other Jennifer, David Lebovitz’s recipe for Candied Grapefruit Peel is yummy: https://www.davidlebovitz.com/candied-grapefruit-peel-recipe/
order grapefruit from P&D for our family and friends every Christmas. Thanks sir.
I’ve made candied citrus peels many times, and the secret to eliminating the bitterness is to remove the white spongy “pith” off the inside of the peel.
It feels a bit like you’re cutting a fish filet, but it really helps. Lie the peel pieces flat on a cutting board, and carefully slide a thin sharp knife between the white pith and colorful outer layer of the peel.
this is looking amazing recipe
Just watched a show by Rory O’Connell. He said to start the five (!) boilings from cold water. Peels in cold water, then bring to boil. Then drain and cool completely. Repeat.
I don’t know if it makes a difference but he claimed that to draw acid or bitter tastes out you have to start cold. I hope you can try again! I’ll try and let you know. Love your site!!!!!
Here is Rory O’Connell’s recipe. I watched the same episode and intend to test this recipe. https://www.thehomechannel.co.za/how-to-cook-well-with-rory-oconnell/candied-citrus-fruit-batons-and-julienne-strips/
Hi, Deb! — I hope you’ll give these another chance. I suspect the problem was an excessively bitter batch of rind.
I have candied red grapefruit peel successfully for years, with all the pith intact, by boiling/discarding 3-4 times and then boiling in 3:2 sugar syrup with a pinch of salt until thoroughly translucent.
Leave to soak in syrup a couple hours (or overnight in the fridge), then dry on a rack until just tacky and roll in sugar.
(One drop of red food coloring in the syrup pinks them right up.)
Also, for what it’s worth, when I candy citrus peel, I always use half water AND HALF JUICE to make the boiling syrup. Improves the flavor and the leftover syrup makes a great glaze for loaf cakes, tarts, etc.
I made some recently and they turned out quite good! I used a cocktail tool to peel the outside into strips, which left a lot of the white pith out. I boiled them five times to be extra sure I was getting the bitterness out before candying. Next time I want to toss it in a citric acid / sugar mix so it’s like sour candy…
Did you boil them in the candy sweets?…I mean boiling four times seems a good idea.
Hi Deb! Sorry to read you didn’t have much luck. I tried this William Sonoma recipe that takes 2 days to make, but well worth it. Good luck!
I remember my mother made this grapefruit candy. I didn’t like it much so didn’t see why my older sisters (13 and 15 years older) did. As I got older and had children of my own my mother and I would make it together. Then I noticed that it was the ONLY thing that my mother would make that my children wouldn’t touch. Hurray!! Finally, something sweet that I didn’t have to hide from them. Needless to say I now love this candy, brings back so many memories.
Ha! I love that story! Thank you for sharing!!
Amazing pictures of candied grapefruit peels…I just love it. Thank you so much for sharing this lovely post.
hmm…I have also made candied grapefruit peels once and I kept boiling in water until the bitterness went away completely. Removing pith for sure helps in this.
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this is great advice. I just read this blog. thank you so much
thank you for the great article
I saw a recipe for candied orange peels that said “with a sharp paring knife, trim away as much of the white pith from the peel as you can.” I was going to skip that step in making candied orange peels, but perhaps it would help your grapefruit peels to turn out better next time?
Candied grapefruit peel is even better than orange peel. I use all the pith and only trim away any bits of fruit. Thin peel is tough and unpleasant. The trick is to address the bitterness. Salt and heat counter act and break down the bitter compounds. Water carries it away.
Brine the peel with a LOT (1/3+ cup to 500 gr of peel) of salt for several days. Make sure the peel stays submerged. I use a heavy plate to weight it down. I usually let the first cold brine sit several days during the holidays . (Citrus salad for Christmas dinner, start the blanching after new year’s). Drain and rinse.
Simmer 5-10 min in a second heavily salted brine, let cool. Drain, rinse, repeat (third salted brine, second simmer). Drain and rinse. Blanch in a lot of plain water at least twice more. I usually do three times. Taste for bitterness. If it’s still bitter blanch again. If it’s still bitter, you probably didn’t use enough salt or water in the brine and blanching.
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I love that you’re wrote a post about something that didn’t work. 5 stars!